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Making of Armada by Kan Muftic, London Web:

making of armada

I will not pretend to know how to make an eye catching painting. I will also not try to convince you in any of my methods. We are all wired in our own individual way so, what works for me, might not work for you at all. In fact, the more experienced I get, the less I care about following any structure.

For me, painting is all about the controlling the chaos of ideas and possibilities. It is so easy to get lost, especially if trying to imitate other artist’s methods. If I have a chance, I will always try to think about what I want to paint for as long as possible. It’s useful to have a cup of tea in a cafe before going to work, so you have some time to prepare yourself.

As far as technique is considered, it was very much a straight-on process. In my opinion, the more you try to make your piece to look traditional or “brushy” the more you restrain yourself. Lately I find that I can only produce quality work if I am totally relaxed and do not think of brushes.

This particular piece was made with one single brush: the standard chalk brush in Photoshop. But it could have been done with any other! I am not saying that custom brushes are bad, I think they are in fact brilliant. But, they need to work for you and not the other way around.

You can pretty much use anything that will allow you to sketch out and finish your image. There are people who like soft strokes, there are some who like very chalky ones and some like oily/smeary strokes. Very often, it’s not the type of brush you use but the way you treat your edges that will define your style, in case you care for it. Look how Degas used pastel; it is very similar to what we see in concept paintings nowadays. Lots of chalky textures and carefully detailed focal points. On the other hand, if you smudge impasto on the canvas and just render the focal point, you will probably get the same effect, just with different textures.

“Armada” was pretty much done in my head before I even turned my computer on. I spent weekend thinking about the subject matter, the composition and even colours. As I set down, I took a very textured brush and quickly layed down a very rough echoe from what I had in mind: a gigantic beast surrounded by 18th century army, rolling over a battlefield.

At this stage, I knew I wanted a dark sky and pools of light, fighting their way through the clouds. That gave me some interesting highlights:

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